Surcharge tax on wealthy would spur budget reform
What is the largest source of waste in our national finances? Interest paid on the national debt.
How did the debt balloon by $15 trillion over the last 30 years? By following the Republican policy of trading huge tax cuts for the wealthy for campaign contributions. As a result, the wealth of the middle class has increased by 40 percent and the wealthiest by 275 percent.
Have the Republicans reconsidered their craven addiction to borrow and spend? No, they still pound the voodoo drums of supply-side, pretending to balance the budget in 10 years while adding $4 trillion more to the debt plus trying to shift the burden onto the middle class.
Is there a way to fix these failed, wasteful policies? Yes, by enacting a 10 percent dedicated surcharge tax on the income of the wealthiest 10 percent of taxpayers to pay down the national debt.
As soon as this tax is enacted, the wealthy would order their bought Congress people to balance the budget immediately, as this would be the only way to reduce their future taxes.
No doubt balancing the budget would entail painful spending cuts and tax increases, but it would force a reappraisal of national priorities and policies, like no more optional wars on the credit card.
The only way to add much vitality to the economic recovery is by increasing the minimum wage to $11 quickly. The have-nothings and have-littles need a fair shake more than wage slavery or handouts.
Allen T. Kelley
Thanks, fire department
This letter is in part to commend the local fire department for its quick response and professional attention to a fire that occurred at my residence recently. My tool shed caught fire early in the morning, and if I didn't live very close to the underground fire station on Man o' War Boulevard, not only would the shed be a total loss, but with the windy conditions that developed, the whole neighborhood could have gone up in flames.
I would also like to address the issue of brownouts at fire stations in the city. Our taxes provide a lot of things, but something that should never be compromised is the safety that comes from well-supplied and staffed fire, rescue and police departments.
Such cutbacks should be vehemently opposed by our citizens. I'm sure there are other places that our local government could cut back without compromising the safety of our citizens. Thanks again, Lexington fire department.
Top-notch care at VA
In 1947, the year I was born, Queen Elizabeth II stated in a commonwealth speech, "I shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great family." I was reminded of those words on my recent visit to the Lexington Veterans Administration hospital.
After a weekend of much concern over a potential health issue, I went to the VA on Presidents Day. I arrived at 8 a.m. and was in an emergency room by 8:15. By 8:30 my vitals had been checked and blood had been drawn by two sweet nurses who showered me with kind encouragement. By 8:45 a battery of tests began. My heart, lungs, liver, blood, urine, feces and muscles were checked in a comprehensive examination using several diagnostic tests. I then awaited the results, which all came back to my liking. I was discharged at 10:30 a.m., a much happier man than when I had walked in.
Often we hear negative stories about the VA, it's services and inadequacies. I think these accusations are blatantly false. I have used the VA for many years, and I have never been inconvenienced or disappointed by the staff, service or professionalism. The medical staff provides the excellent service that America's warriors have honorably earned. As a combat veteran, I know a lot about inconveniences, and going to the VA in Lexington is not one of them.
God bless our VA staff. They make us proud to be veterans.
Robert R. Adams
Still treated badly
I'm a two-tour Vietnam veteran. I have had a claim in with the VA since December 2011. In September I was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes from Agent Orange and sleep apnea. I added these two service-connected problems to the existing claim. Now the VA wants to take 50 percent for anxiety disorder away from me unless I can prove it's service-connected.
The VA doesn't want me to be 100 percent. I'm 69 years old and in poor health. Our government treated Vietnam vets badly when we came home and still continues this practice.
Vets commonly denied care
My father served in the Pacific theater during World War II. My father spoke of making several landings/invasions of islands throughout the South Pacific. He was on Guadalcanal with the 1913th Engineers. They were the ones who built and maintained Henderson Field. They were the ones who ensured that the injured had a place to be taken to receive care.
As my father neared the end of his life he was repeatedly denied care at the Veterans Hospital. A doctor told me that this is the norm instead of a rarity. The reason given was that they did not have sufficient beds for his care.
My father passed away on Jan. 22 in the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. He was proud of his service to the nation until the day that he died.
To have Veterans Affairs and the U.S. government turn their backs on him at the end of his life is in my opinion the most despicable thing that can be done to those who gave their all in the defense of their country.
I will stop here as I feel that if there is humanity left out there, people will feel my disappointment with our nation and those whom we have elected to represent us.
Look who's fighting
As previous letters have observed, the small handful of self-proclaimed "neighborhood association" opponents to environmentalist Burgess Carey's splendid Boone Creek project want to make him out as a greedy capitalist. They would also cast him as a "defiant" lawbreaker.
Turn around, though, and see just who is leveling these charges: a group of moneyed fat-cats who, if they could, would transform the entire Old Richmond Road corridor into their own private gated hunting preserve.
As to breaking the law, it might be instructive to examine the nature of "preservationist" Gloria Martin's cozy relations with certain public officials that certainly carry the whiff of ethical impropriety.
Carey has broken no laws, and he is not a vulture capitalist. He is a steward of this land that he loves, a passionate educator and conservationist, and a generous host who only wishes to open, not close, his Boone Creek treasure to the wider Lexington community.